Australian union workers onboard Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas facility plan to take industrial action next week, in what could be another setback for the project.

The Offshore Alliance trade union grouping and lawyers for the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) have both served Shell with formal notice that industrial action will commence on the Prelude FLNG facility deployed offshore Western Australia will on 10 June.

“Shell has had two years to sort out our key bargaining claims and nothing less than Tier 1 rates and conditions and job security, are going to cut it,” the Offshore Alliance posted on Facebook.

“Offshore Alliance and ETU members will be implementing rolling stoppages of work and work bans in accordance with our (Protected Industrial Action) notice.”

The industrial action will include a ban on any overtime work, a ban on signing any permits, a ban on restarting process compressors that have tripped — provided that one steam turbine remains operational — and a ban on the unloading of cargo other than food, water or medical supplies.

Nor will unionised workers facilitate the landing or departure of helicopters on the Prelude FLNG and there will be a ban on any work to facilitate the side-by-side mooring of tankers or vessels.

“The Offshore Alliance and ETU won't be backing down until our bargaining claims are sorted,” added the Offshore Alliance.

Persistent troubles

Shell only recently restarted operations on the Prelude FLNG after more than four months’ downtime due to technical issues.

A Shell spokesperson told Upstream that it recognises the entitlement of all workers to exercise their rights, including the right to participate in industrial action.

“As always, the health, safety and wellbeing of those who work on our sites is of the utmost priority,” the Shell spokesperson said.

“We work hard to provide a strong employee value proposition for our employees, which is competitive with industry peers.

“We continue to engage with our people and their representatives and remain committed to acting fairly, respectfully and transparently at all times during the bargaining process.”

This upcoming industrial action will not be the first to hit the Prelude FLNG facility.

The Australian Financial Review reported that cooks on the vessel employed by French catering contractor Sodexo in 2020 were only preparing vegetarian meals as part of protected action, while employees of Australian contractor Monadelphous working on the vessel also downed tools for periods between September 2020 and March 2021 to secure an agreement over terms.


Prelude FLNG has a nameplate production capacity of 3.6 million tonnes per annum of LNG, 1.3 million tpa of condensate and 400,000 tpa of liquid petroleum gas.

Shell operates the unit with a 67.5% interest on behalf of co-venturers Inpex on 17.5%, Kogas with 10% and CPC on 5%.

Earlier this week Shell took the final investment decision on its Crux development, which will see the offshore field tied back to the Prelude FLNG facility. First gas from Crux is being targeted in 2027.

The Offshore Alliance, which is a partnership between the Australian Workers’ Union and the Maritime Union of Australia, covers workers in all aspects of the offshore oil and gas industry.